The Slumbering Tsar - Starting, DM Set up, Questions, and Advice


Advice and Rules Questions

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Yeah, I was guessing it was the Minor Crown, but since I saw the Gem of Seeing earlier I wasn't sure. I was just concerned players would skip the Camp once they got the ability to teleport, but that's their perogative I guess. I wonder if there is any precidence for random encounters in the Astral Plane? Guess I need to read up on teleport, one of the best challenges of the Desolation is the attrition and not being able to alpha strike encounters.

The Gods: I finally found the Necromancer Games forums and one of the users had a Golarion Gods conversion listed as follows.
Set = Achaekek
Hecate = Asmodeus
Hel = Urgathoa
Arden = Sarenrae
Muir = Iomeda
Thyr = Aroden (then Abadar?)
Freya = Either Gozreh or Erastil
Nerull = Norgorber
Tsathogg = Gugunta (probably won't use this one just because)

Anyways I'm not familiar very much with either set, but for consistency's sake would it make a big difference if I swapped them out?

Also while I'm bombarding ya'll with questions, anyone run Rappan Athuk? How does it measure up to Slumbering Tsar, I might try it on my players after they finish this, how similar are they?


I don't run in Golarion so can't help there. I prefer the Necromancer deities. I run RA also and they are an extension of one another although RA is much more dungeon based. It is the grand daddy.


@James

Teleport will be of limited value to start because per the spell descripton:

You may also bring one additional willing Medium or smaller creature (carrying gear or objects up to its maximum load) or its equivalent per three caster levels

So at 9th level you can only teleport a 4 player party that doesn't have any familiars or animal companions.


Our wizard tonight mentioned the same issue. The party just crossed into the Boiling Lands. The poor rogue seemed to take the brunt of the Boiling Mud and the Geysers. He was also the first attacked by the mud men! I used 2 of my terrain boards and it went over fairly well. They have dealt with the Acid Rain enough that they are prepared for it with Secured Shelter.


Hey brvheart any thoughts on how to build a quick and dirty model of the ruined keep in crucible of freya?


Its late, I will look for what I used tomorrow.


James B. Kline I hope you don't mind the off topic posts. I am avidly reading the play reports.


This game's notes will have a lot of details, we just finished game a few hours ago, but I wanted to get this down while it was fresh. I'll split it up by region so I don't end up with one massive block of text.

@Grimmy, its fine I've thought about using other terrain besides flip-mats and dnd vinyl mats. I even mentioned to my players about swapping over and tryng a few combats out with our Warhammer 40k terrain, we've got some nice stuff.

11/10/13 Sunday Game

While In Town
The party was recovering from their last foray out in Tark's Mound on their way to find the Justicar's Tomb, unfortunately they were so drained by Shriekers and Wights that they came back to recover. Tonight's game the Aasimir Paladin, Dwarf Fighter, Halfling Magus, Human Sorcerer, and our other paladin decided to roll an evil Human Oracle (undead master). They scheduled a restoration with Father Death and a second one a week later when the shipment came into the Emporium. The aasimir dropped off his shield to the Usurer for fixing, and used a bit of their credit with him. Currently he has offered to give them credit for about 20k gold worth of sold weapons and armor, so long as they only buy weapons and armor with it and it's non-refundable. The week in town the paladin spent trying to find information about Ygritte, the ranger he had fallen for. The magus and sorcerer went and put in a big order for potions with Mama Grimm and they figured out she was from Tsar. The dwarf was making plans to kill Finn the Rancher for his constant drunken taunting, though nothing came of it. Later he tried to intimidate the Usurer for some info on the rangers, though he ended up getting Dominated and sent to the Inn with orders to not return to the Blacksmith, but otherwise act normally. The sorcerer ended up dropping a 1 on a Gather Info and got a rumor that "Lucky" at the sip of blood tavern was a worshipper of Orcus and was running a cult, the party made preparations to assault the tavern in force. The paladin stormed in and after forgetting he was mute, snatched the barkeep over the counter and dragged him out into the street cast zone of truth while Lucky panicked while the waitresses looked on. He finally figured out just what he did and had a good facepalm moment while the rest of the party shook their heads, he spent some time trying to make amends later on with money, promises of service, and apologies. The magus through a good arcana roll recognized the Dominate after some time and used 5 or so charges on the dispel wand to cancel it out, though she was unwilling to cross the Usurer because of her suspicions about him. Finally five days in town and they are ready, the party decided to make another attempt into the Chaos Rift, but the paladin had plans to steer them through what they think was Sanctuary, correctly, on their map because of he wanted to find Ygritte. They do decide to take the road, mostly and leave under Cold Snap weather conditions.

On the Road.
Deciding to go with speed they take their horses along the road, but right outside of town they finally notice A1 and they reluctantly go and inspect the corpses. They find the tracks leading away as if someone ran away, but the sorcerer argues against "chasing shadows" with the paladin. They get attacked by the ghouled wolves and dispatch them easily. They continue on the road and skip the Dragon's Corpse again, just like every other time, but cannot escape a trio of random Margoyles that drop in and snatch the paladin off his horse while tearing him to pieces. Before he gets carried to far the sorcerer casts a confusion on one of them and the paladin luckily manages to break the grapple, falling 60' feet and almost dying before the dwarf and magus finish off the confused one, the two others flee after the sorcerer lightning bolts them. They reach the Crossroads after pushing an extra hour of travel as the sun sets, some odd bits of conversation between the players leads me to believe they have something planned and they didn't disappoint.

The Crossroads (their favorite place)
So the party camps down early and they have a plan, by 11 pm they are fully rested and seem to be rehearsing something to ask the Dweller. They get an unexpected visit from the Peddler who was received very warmly, strangely enough. They get the hint about the dwarves, but they don't make the connection. Finally midnight comes and the Dweller appears offering them their heart's desires. The paladin steps forward and waffles a few times finally deciding that the best wish would be to fix the Desolation, though his wording was lacking... "My wish is that you return the Desolation to what it was before the war." He got a two-fer, he disappeared and reappeared alone in A5-5 with a knife in his hand at his love's throat, directly in front of the Carnivorous Tree. He was confused completely. The rest of the party wasn't terribly surprised when the paladin disappeared and the Dweller tried to tempt the Dwarf by offering him the power to rule the Desolation, to destroy all of his foes. The sorcerer talked him down not once, but twice, while the Magus made only a single threat were he to take a gift from the "Demon". They decide to give the paladin some time to return to them and brave a Bonestorm with a casting of Tiny Hut. They say they will give him 24 hours to return....

The Reclaimers, A5
With Ygritte fully re-indoctrinated and with no memory of ever meeting the paladin, as per her wish with the Dweller, she being a willing sacrifice to the tree tries to throw herself into the tree when the paladin refuses to kill her. He knocks her out as the tree begins to wail angrily. He looks around and finds the sorceress in the pit and convinces her that he is on her side. She casts Mage Armor, Shield, and Fly on both of them and tells him if they don't escape fast they are going to be killed. They fly into A5-4 where the druids are waiting, before they can escape one casts gust of wind, an ice storm and knocks the paladin out of the air. The sorceress drops a few fireballs while the paladin does as best as he can against the neutral druids and their pets, but not before having her flight dispelled. Her fireballs end up waking up the Stick Giant, whom by the end of the druid fight has emerged and shakes splinters everywhere almost dropping the paladin who had cast shield other on the sorceress. The stick giant begins pounding away on both of them swatting them as it smashes through the grove. A5-3 confronts them with a pair of dire tigers that cannot reach the flying trio, the paladin was carrying Ygritte. With just a few points of life the paladin channels every round to try and recover life, but its doing no good with the Stick Giant hitting for impressive damage. The paladin and sorceress see the exit and fly for it as a pair of quickwoods close the gap. An attack of opportunity on both gets the sorceress grappled and dragged into the hedge. The paladin turns back just in time to hear a sickening crunch and the sorceress is gone, he never even got her name and he felt really guilty. While the Stick Giant would not pursue the weather was storming and it forced the paladin to crash not far away. He made a simple camp rested for an hour before Ygritte woke up. He talked to her and tried to tell her of their past, though she had no memory, he finally untied her in a move of blind faith, sense motive, and Diplomacy rolls. After a few minutes their primitive camp attracts a Babau Demon who drops the paladin to 1 life, Ygitte and he finish it off together and he passes out. She decides not to run away and while he is resting they get attacked by a group of 5 ghouls, she casts longstrider and leads them away, stealthing and returning. He wakes up and seems surprised. He was lost, but she showed him how to get to the road and they start heading to the Crossroads.

The Crossroads again.
The party after a bit of discussion on what happened decide to admit Ygritte into the group while she decides what she wants to do with her life, since the druids are dead and the paladin's mad diplomacy rolls and great rp. We closed game at this point, but it was awesome.


Just to note the party is utterly convinced Simon the Hermit is a vampire and they treat a visit with him like a world of warcraft raid. They buff up and the whole conversation is on edge, but they keep it cordial though he thinks they are insane.

There was a lot of rp I glazed over at the crossroads between the magus, fighter, and sorcerer, though it was worth mentioning.

The party is convinced the Dweller is Orcus and that he is trying to give them his rod to corrupt them.

After the paladin returned it sounds like they want to try their luck again.


That was quite a write up! Very nice! My party would not deal with Father Death and would only deal with the Userer to get iron bits with a paladin in the group. The paladin's run in with Lucky was rather interesting. While Lucky is not evil most of his patron's are. He tried to perform for his supper on his violin, but Lucky told him that this crown were not interested in that type of music so he had to have someone else exchange some of his gold. He and the cleric are dwarves so they were not all that interested in his orcish ale so Lucky brought out a bottle of whisky. The rogue proceeded to buy the rest of the bottle and got soused! He was so bad he was sickened the next day when they hit the trail even with the paladin helping him. It was hilarious watching a hung over rogue lead the party through the Boiling Lands! (Kind of brings back memories of college!)


My group avoids the Sip-O-Blood because I have the whole area filled with Flayleaf smoke, so they take a wisdom damage everytime they enter as well as make an addiction test. It's low, but they avoid the place and I penalize them on Gather Information unless they specifically don't leave it out of their route.

About Father Death, at first the player of the paladin leaned over and asked me if he was supposed to slay all these evil people on sight since he was detecting it on just about everyone. I asked him are they actively committing evil acts or just of evil alignment and I think he figured it out at that point. I tend to have my commoners have about 1d6 levels (npc levels) plus 1 or two per age category minimum, so about a third of the population of any given place detects as evil. The only battle they've had with Father Death is of words, the paladin assures him of Sarenrae's golorious victory, while Father Death says Death is patient and comes for everyone. Its funny to see them interact.

I haven't read much into the Boiling Lands, they are set to tackle the Chaos Rift next. They have avoided the Dead Fields and BL so far completely and I'm going to need to find a way to get them to at least pass through. I have found that the best way for my group to use the encounter sites is to just have them find them when it suits the story, rather than randomly finding them. Ie. At the beginning of the session before the paladin stumbles into Sanctuary, they find A1 which alludes to the sorceress A5-5. I think the major reason they have avoided the Chaos Rift is due to the terrain, which makes travel extremely hazardous.

I've tried to persuade my players that they might want to take more of a rough world view with their characters, because they probably don't have much longer to live and their lifestyle is for very few. In my opinion I think adventurers in general should be hard drinking, womanizing/manizing, gold spending, gamblers who know that any encounter could be their last. IMO it takes a certain kind of person to be an adventurer, even the holy warriors. I love systems where flaws are incorporated into characters. Ie oWoD, Cortex, SLA, etc.


Oh, the paladin isn't wanting to necessarily kill Father Death, but he and the Inquisitor will not deal with a known evil entity. The dwarf cleric of Freya will not either. None of these three fall into that description of "adventurer" and are more doing it for "the cause". I prefer my heroes to be heroes and not "dark knights". Call me old fashioned. Me ancestor was William Wallace. He married a maid named Marian, ran around with his brother John and a man named Edward Little, was the best archer in all of Brittan before turning to the sword and was known to run around with a friar that was known to imbibe at times! Blankety-blank English even steal our legends!

I married an irish lass that is not fond of them English either. It is her island!


In my group I've got a few characters with the holy quest drive those being both paladins, the good oracle (dead), and the magus. Those who are doing it for the money are the dwarf Fighter and the soul knife. The ones doing it for the adventure are the female sorcerer and the rogue. The evil oracle is doing it for power.

Personally my characters usually have diverse flaws and personal goals. I like to build characters with problems, whether they be drugs, addiction, or psychological trauma. It mostly comes out when combat has died down in towns. Here's a few.
Dresslock the drow ninja/warrior, racist against non-elves, LN, wants elves to be the ones in political power because they are superior, he thinks his only flaw is that he fell for a half-elf and has a bit of self loathing for it.
Keen the half orc barbarian, likes being wealthy, is a cannibal unfortunately for those who die around him, CN, typically overly violent to his enemies.
Searwynd the elven paladin, LG, working to "do good" for those he can save, has a problem with drinking.
"Lightweight" the dhampir Voidmage, CE, womanizer and seducer, always working on his next meal, he thinks that the presense of death causes those who kill to become stronger, highlander complex.

Back to the adventure though. How much custom stuff are you throwing in? I saw mention of an extra dragon? So far I'm running it canned, except if people like various NPCs, ie Ygritte. I thought about running Rappan Athuk side by side just in case they wanted to walk into it, though I think I will save it for later.


Really quick, are you other dm's awarding xp for just monster encounters or for things like Bonestorms and Acid rain? Typically my group just hunkers in a Tiny Hut or seeks shelter, its not much of a challenge, but they do expend resources.

Here's an update on my group's xp progress copied from the email.

Here's the results of ya'lls fun time in adventure land!

Lucky CR 5
9 Ghoul Wolves Everyone CR8
3 Margoyles Everyone CR 7
A5-4 Hinkel CR11
Babau Demon CR6 Hinkel

XP Awards:
Hinkel +7470
Liz +2400
Jody +2400
James +2400
Daisy +2400 Oracle
=====================================================================
XP Totals

Liz: 75,470/105,000 (Magus 9) LEVEL 9!!!!!
Hinkel: 72,280/75,000 (Paladin 8)
James: 71,925/75,000 (Fighter 8)
Jody: 56,600/75,000 (Sorcerer 8) [Other characters: Oracle 7 (dead @ 39,470)]
Britney: 53,000/75,000 (Sorcerer 8)
Travis: 44,000/51,000 (Soulknife 7) [Other characters: Soulknife 7 (Ressurected @36,800 xp)]
Daisy: 37,400/51,000 (Oracle 7); 46,600/51,000 (Paladin 7)


@ James

I'm just tweaking things, like having the ravens be more talkative and obviously caging the party or making some treasure more appropriate for the party, instead of out and out adding things in.

I do want to deal with the lack of other adventuring parties and caravans but haven't come up with any solid ideas yet. I'm toying with the idea of some type of wheeled boat/longboat or a sail powered walking thing as part of a caravan from the north.

Go to Sail Power Walking Thing.


My solution to the lack of other adventuring parties so far has been that all new characters coming in have been members of destroyed adventuring parties in the Desolation who have either wandered into the Camp, or have been found wandering exhausted and starving.

Also from what I've read see A1 and A5-5 for npc adventurers. I suppose you could start a false rumor about adventurer's in the Chaos Rift, the wolf guys. I might do that, just to lure them there.

There's another one at Ch7 Crooked Tower room 82.

Will look for more.


I'd also appreciate some input on this topic, since we stopped game immediately I have some time before game to implement some consequences for making deals with the Dweller.
http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2qcpi?Deals-with-Demons-and-alignment

Basically, the paladin has set in motion the destruction of Sanctuary, unless more Reclaimers show up to feed the Carnivorous Tree. Should I have his pally powers flicker off for a game? He basically just gave the demons a free pass to tear down Sanctuary over the next few months as the foliage dies off. Thoughts?

Just for some of the writers and stuff I keep plugging this adventure in other threads, because I like it enough to share. They did an amazing job on this and I hope a few of my readers buy a copy.


Grimmy, I finally found the piece I used for Crucible of Freya. It is called the Ruined Keep from JR Miniatures, but it is a piece they make differently now. The one I have is a circular tower much like the center tower of CoF. One day I need to paint it and mount it on a board.


I also have a gatehouse with 2 wall sections and towers I build out of foam that I will use when I run it again. That and Dwarven Forge curved walls and Ruins set.


I don't see the destruction of the sanctuary as being an ungood/non-paladinish thing to do. It's a nice enough place but it is the product of evil acts.


My players were looking to find a way to get it to work without resorting to demons, evil acts or sacrifices. I might let it work once they conquer Tsar.


What about sacrificing captured demons?


The destruction of Sanctuary probably itself isn't an evil act, at most its neutral. The ranger explained to the paladin that "we are opposing forces, in the end I think we must fight, but not today..." something like that. I tend to think of alignments like when I used Sigil (The City of Doors) alot, eventually when everyone else at the opposite spectrum is gone, even lawful good and chaotic good will fight. What the destruction of Sanctuary means to the Desolation? It is literally the only spark of living nature in over 600 square miles, it is also one of the few locations that has held out against the destructive influences of the war. Notably, they didn't kill the stick giant, there just won't be any sacrifices. I'm debating having the sorceress have lived and going insane as the trees won't let her leave. I'm envisioning this scene where she's screaming "YOU LEFT ME!!!" while flinging fireballs at the party.

One of my players has a backup character who is a druid, I was going to recommend she be a part of the Reclaimers, just not an extreme alignment side. At some point I might suggest animal sacrifices to the gods, which amounts to feeding a forest, like you would feed chickens seed. Doesn't seem evil as long as there is no cruelty or torture. Thoughts?

As to sacrificing Demons, as a DM I tend to have them explode, splatter, smoke, or quickly decay when they die. Capturing one is probably near impossible as they have DR against most nonlethal methods and can usually teleport. Plus evil creature blood might get into the trees and make them go wrong, or something. Sorry I'm getting all sorts of Evil Dead 2 ideas, but probably not on track.


Nah, they do the Sam and Dean routine on the demons!


Sam & Dean routine?


Winchester. I guess you don't watch Supernatural?


No - No television.

(A great way to practise blank stares during watercooler conversations.)

@ James

The animal sacrifices don't seem unreasonable from a game perspective. I know one of my players would never go for it while some others would. I like the Evil Dead angle, even if it doesn't happen they'll have that nagging doubt.

Spoiler:
My group grabbed the chain of beguiling from the tomb of the last Justicar so capturing a demon should be quite doable.


Too bad, I get a lot of my ideas from that show and some of my NPC's. Castiel and Crowley show up quite often!


I have been considering doing a terrain board for the boiling lands to add to my swamp board. Any ideas?


Saturday Game 10

The dwarven fighter, the halfling magus, the halfling sorcerer, and a new half elf ranger comprised the group. They started off at the Crossroads with the intent of finding the Sepulcher of the Last Justicar. They took a direct NE path and hit some of the C1 terrain, after a few scrapes, bruises, and extraction of the sorcerer from a hole they reached the bottom of the canyon where they met up with the new ranger who had apparently been trying to get back to the Camp, since her party had been destroyed by margoyles. No sooner than she had joined the group then a trio of babau demons been spotted on a ledge, the party had just enough time to see them summoning more babau to the fight one of which was dropped on them from 100' up and it collided with the sorcerer. The others teleported into the party and all ganged up on the Magus, almost bringing her down before the ranger and fighter teamed up on the summoner. The other three went down quickly as the team switched out to cold iron weapons after a good roll by the dungeon expert ranger. The dwarf's cold iron battleaxe had seen better days as the acid broke it, though the sorcerer mended it. They had to make a few decisions about which canyon to continue down, but chose correctly due to some good guesses, survival, and geography rolls. They were nearby the gargoyle lair, but they noticed a strange canyon going much deeper near dark, they decided to explore it first as a storm of acid rain caught them in the open. After a casting of tiny hut and a remarkable night of no encounters they got up at 4 am to continue. They found the canyon of C9 the Deeps, where to their horror they were attacked by an the Bone Golem. Quick thinking by the sorcerer with a Web spell saved the party a character death or two, possibly a wipe. Next they found the base of the trickle from the Chaos Falls, the dwarf was extremely curious, but the party was weary from all of the fighting. He decided to climb alone and see about this mystery he observed the area for some time, but failed to see the invisible howling abomination. When he went to fill his water skins it attacked and after a few rounds the party saw the small trickle turn red. He nearly won the fight by himself, but in the end the creature had to many mouths. They had warned him several times not to split the group and they did not climb the cliff to see what happened, he was left for dead. Pressing on the party found the pillars of Orcus, but were to cautious of the overly large birds to climb it, they quickly moved on through the area after some casual examinations, noting only that it coursed with Chaotic energy. Further on, they found the winch lift of the trolls, but they left it be noting that there were giants and it was quite a distance up. They made their way to Old Death's Hallow where after seeing all the statues, between the three of them they decided they had gone to far and quickly turned back. Passing by the Pillars of Orcus they used a mage hand to carry a wand of cure light wounds into the energy after rolling 1 on on an Arcana check, thinking it would recharge from 7. The wand exploded and turned into a chaos beast, which promptly attacked and only scratched the ranger, who luckily did not turn into slime. The party decided to go back near the gargoyle cave and start a search pattern from there. End of game.

Deaths:
Dwarven Fighter 8 to Howling Abomination at Chaos Falls.

Notes:
I probably went a little easy on the checks at C1, the party was 4 people with no healer, normally we have 5 or 6 so they had less abilities at their disposal. I'm sick so we ended a bit earlier than normal, but I think they did a good job. It was incredible that they got through the night without any encounters, I rolled 4 times outside of the 68% encounter chance, on each roll! It was ridiculous, but lucky for them.

XP Awards - Gave them a bonus of a CR7
Daisy Ranger 7 +7470
Liz Magus 9 +7470
Jody Sorcerer +7470
James Next Character +1070


That is what happens when you go off alone. My players did not battle the trolls and just paid them for their services to transport them up and down. To them they were just running a business.


@ brvheart,

I'd imagine the boiling lands to look like one of those deep undersea vents except squashed flat and then squished to the point where it is somewhat concave.

@ all

My group just finished dealing with Old Death and have some blood left over after returning stone members of the party to flesh. Now they have to decide which of Old Death's collection they will use the blood on.

They don't need any additional party members so I'm trying to sort out who these statues will turn out to be. Any suggestions? I might use Daisy Ranger and Jody Sorcerer for two of them.

Geo


Literally, the group got on youtube, and started playing that song "Don't you know you never split the party". He was deterimined to go and they didn't want to. He later explained to me that the party was going broke and they needed to take some risks and explore. I had explained to them OOC that the only way they will make any money is by exploring dungeons.

I can post copies of their character sheets if that would help. The character names are a bit more complicated. You could also use Ygritte, but she is just a standard Skeribar Ranger.

I would drop in some npcs to advance whatever plot you think needs to be pushed. I could also post my CE Dhamphir Voidmage, but he is level 5. You might want to leave them as "nameless adventurers" that your party could use if they die. The best use I could think for them is have them be bandits associated with C7 the Wolf Pack, or victims who fled and got lost.


James,

I like the victims/bandits suggestions but I have backed myself into a corner by already telling the PC's that the only non-monsters that look like they could survive being turned back to flesh include someone who looks magic-useresque, a roguish individual, a cleric and someone who looks rangerly.

If you could give me general descriptions of the personalities and objectives for Daisy and Jody that would be helpful and will hopefully make for some interesting cross-polination. If they have crazy names, so much the better.

For the other two I'll make one be under a geas and the other....still to decide.


@Geo fix My party ended up using all his blood on party members so I did not have an issue there. I think they have had about 8 characters total turned to stone and back, some multiple times! If I really need to make up names for NPCs I always have the Treasury of Archaic Names to fall back on.


Kaius the Halfling Sorcerer 8 - NG, think raiden, this guy pops with electrical energy. He is inquisitive and skeptical, but not obnoxious. His motives are pure, to cleanse the Desolation of its taint, though it has claimed his life once already. He has been petrified twice at this point and has an extreme distrust of the Camp, he refuses to drink water from the Well. He will distance himself from fools or needless violence, he pursues the Sepulcher of the Last Justicar, but isn't sure where it is. He knows it is somewhere near the margoyle caves and had a vision he is reluctant to share. Kaius is utterly unconcerned with money and has a particular affinity for lightning, all of his elemental spells do electricity damage instead of normal. He is somewhat of an evocation specialist, but he is charitable to those who are thoughtful in action. He always has a small field of energy which keeps people from touching him, it does d6 to any strikers. He is somewhat outspoken and will try and sway the party to action, but will not resort to force unless evil action is imminent. He HATES the Dweller at the Crossroads and immediately becomes unfriendly to those who speak with him.

Je'zella "Zella" Sewyn the half-elf Ranger 7 - CE, think seductress and attracted to power, she is focused extensively on her skill with the bow and has an oathbow enhanced for mighty 5, to match her strength. She wears almost no armor, but is decorated in tribal tattoos on her face and body. Her goals in the Desolation are to loot the wealth and unearth powerful items for the sake of personal gain. Her motives are deadly serious and she can be relied on as far as it serves her desires, Kaius and her have a tenuous working relationship. Notably she is just as like to find herself smitten with a woman as a man so long as they are powerful. She uses very little armor, but favors resistance items and will never engage in melee. Her most powerful combat abilities are her damage, her perception +17, and her initiative +8. She has heard of the Dweller at the Crossroads and is likely to convince others to make deals with him out of curiosity. Her personality can be very volatile, like a flame. She says her pervious party was decimated, which may be true, though they might have been destroyed because she convinced them to bite off more than they could chew.


Rogal Lightbringer the Aasimir Paladin 8 - LG, he is a paladin that is torn between duty and passion. He has fallen in love with a ranger named Ygritte, could sub out with Zella if you need. He recently made a deal with the Dweller to get her out of some trouble. He is a powerful combatant and quick to declare smite on his opponents and heal in combat. He is not above running from a loosing situation even if he has to leave someone behind though calling him a coward would be misguided. He has a god complex where he places every victory as a blessing of Sarenrae and every loss as a misstep from the path. He has incredible defense and uses a warhammer, shield with a flaming angel on it, and works for Sammar if he is alive. If not, he will assume Sammar's duties in conjuction with Argos. His party members quietly refer to him as a hypocrite because he has made deals with the Dweller and he believes he has "figured it out". He recently got into trouble for attacking "Lucky" on suspicion he was an Orcus Worshiper and he has no qualms about dealing with Father Death, though he tries to preach to him every time he sees him.

Malind Crackles the halfling Magus 9 - NG, she will strike a conversation with anyone with a smile on her face to pick up valuable information acting upon anything related to finding the Sepulcher of the Last Justicar. She is the defacto party leader and arguably the strongest of all. She carries the holy sword of Argos and prefers martial combat to spellcasting, though she has plenty of fireballs when the time comes for it. She is the most vocal of the party in deciding what quest is more pressing, what sidetrack is worth loosing people over and understands that death is the price of the Desolation. She is unfriendly to Skeribar's Rangers and borderline Hostile to the Dweller, anyone who talks to him is likely to earn her ire and distrust permanently. Her most powerful features are her drive, her swordskill (using arcane pool), and her hitpoints 120+ with a high constitution. She attacks margoyles mercilessly and is the largest critic of good characters who compromise their morals, but she has almost uncovered the mystery of the Usurer, without angering him. She has managed to work out a line of credit with him where the party cashes in items for credit against work they want done, she knows he has the ability to Dominate others. Falsely she believes Simon is a Vampire.


How do the three good characters especially the paladin deal with the CE ranger? Does not sound promising.


We play alignments mildly in our group and the greater evil is usually the enemy. For instance, the paladin knows Griswald the Undertaker is evil, but he won't do anything about it unless he finds him doing evil. I've always run very flexible alignments and in the case of the ranger, they are in a dangerous place and she is probably one of the most valuable assets the group has to accomplish the task. Most of the group has actually been criticising the paladin for his dealings with the Dweller, which as of yet have not caused any alignment changes. The dwarven fighter was CN, but he's dead now. The group often questioned his tactics and goals because he wasn't quite after what they were, but they co-existed because they needed to. I like a mixed bag, even some interparty conflict is good occasionally and its bound to happen when people rp.

I'm assuming the ranger player will try and have some kind of love/lust interest in another party member, which will further complicate things and maybe lead to some showdown or people changing sides. The player of the magus has hinted to me that she may be going more middle of the road.


Some yes, but be careful of it. I had a huge blow up on Saturday in my Razor Coast game that has lasted the last two sessions and came to a head. Three players ganging up on one, unfortunately the one was my wife. When the hostess of the game is made to feel so bad she leaves the table and almost the group it has gone beyond the pale. I had to threaten XP penalties to get things right again. Of course you are free to run your game, but IMHO there is no such thing as a lesser evil, especially when dealing with Paladins. In another game, the paladin lost his powers temporarily for dealing with clerics of Vecna. He had to redeem himself through a quest we all participated in. Father Death is a rather interesting case though. I can see the rest of the party dealing with him. Our paladin refused.


Sorry to hear that, we've had some PC on PC violence before, like when a new character tried to assasinate the PC king. I have no idea why they built the concept. Or when another pc killed a lady of the night and threw the corpse in a ditch even though it was a good game, he later admitted it and they had a big blowout about it. Once I PC killed an antipaladin with my CE Half-fiend because he tried to get me killed by abandoning me in combat, he thought it was clever, I disagreed. I've always had the experience that if you give two opposing forces a strong enemy, they will aid each other at least temporarily, I know the ranger isn't going to be playing puppy kicking evil nor the paladin awful good. The alignment system is a bit goofy so we tend to run more realism and not focus on it much, but when you have divine servants of good or evil running around its going to come up. I allow paladin's some leniency, even reading about the 50 and 1, they seemed to have different minds about things even before they went nuts.


It will get resolved. I think being off chemo is getting me cranky.


Not going too off subject here, but I'm looking for some Slumbering Tsar Journals of players or dms, players preferably. There are a few play by post games, but most only go through the Camp. I'm almost debating starting up a pbp game, though I'm not sure I'd be able or willing to run something so intensive.

I have found a number of Rappan Athuk pbp's that go for a while, currently reading: http://paizo.com/campaigns/RappanAthukSetInNirmathasGolarion/gameplay&p age=33

Maybe I'll have some luck on obsidian portal. Let me know if you guys have campaign links, I'd be interested in reading how other people have run/presented stuff.


These guys keep a notebook, but it is largely just for xp and treasure. It is anything but a campaign journal. I am running a PBP game for Razor Coast, but I can imagine Tsar or RA would be tougher to continue over the long haul.


@ James
Thanks - I can have some fun with those!

@brvheart

Father Death certainly is an interesting case - he's presented as being rather benign and I'd say that he is in fact neutral and not evil the way he is presented.

I'm with you on the paladins & evil side of things. I take evil to be activily trying to put yourself ahead of others at other's expense so there is evil and greater evil but no lesser evil.

Was the dust-up within the party the result of alignments?


More player alignments meaning personality conflicts. My wife is ADHD and sometimes she drives people a little nuts with it.


Sunday Game 11
Waking Up
Sleeping just a few miles shy of the Gargoyle Den C6, the players got an unexpected visit in the morning though watch was uneventful otherwise. The party half-elf ranger first spotted a peculiar looking half-orc stumbling his way through the chasm as if lost. He came upon the tiny hut and discerned what it was somehow (knowledge arcana) and started bargaining with the air for shelter and food, as he was starving and lost. His story like most is that his party had been destroyed just this morning in the Desolation, this time by gargoyles, and he was wandering lost in his retreat. He never mentioned that he was a cleric of Asmodeus, but after some comical interactions the gnome magus and ranger agreed to let him have some shelter, mostly after the ranger accused him of being some type of elf-eating cannibal. Shortly thereafter the human sorcerer woke up (player arrived finally) and they all decided they wanted a little payback, plus in theory this is the area with the Sepulcher.

To the Canyon
They were attacked by a scout group of 4 margoyles which did some serious damage, though they found out their new addition was a cleric, having a healer for the first time they pressed on. They found the canyon of C6 and decided to move stealthily along the walls, rather than down the middle, which allowed them to only fight one of the three groups of margoyle sentries. After a short battle, they developed a plan to move further back and let the ranger take full advantage of her talent and she fired on them from over 600' away and before the three could reach the party they were all dead on the canyon floor. Impressed with her skill, the party opted to let her eliminate the other group of sentries as well and since the groups don't really help each other, they weren't watching when the first and second groups went down.

The cliff of Doom
Following the kiling of the sentries, the party spent some time observing the entrances and decided the eastern most tunnel would be the best climbing spot. The cleric of Asmodeus went first, falling after only 30 feet, then falling again after only 20 or so, he decided he would go last. Thinking better of it the party decided to let the ranger go up first and after casting invisibility on her she shimmied up the 120' with no problem (Stealth 41 with invisibility). (I didn't see a height for the cave so I randomly rolled 120') After getting to the top, she only saw a single margoyle in the cave. (I believe it said to reduce their number by their losses in the Desolation, leaving only one left). The cleric decided to give climbing another try which finally made enough noise to anger the lone margoyle as it ran to jump out of the cavern, the ranger shot it three times and it tumbled over and splattered on the ground near the cleric with a few arrows sticking out of it. (She was getting crits left and right.) Deciding now to haul the cleric up the sorcerer climbed up with no problems fairly quitely (stealth 7), followed by the Magus who slipped at 100' (rolled a natural 1), but luckily had feather fall. She shimmied right back up and tripped in a big pile of bones making a lot of noise (natural 1 stealth check....player was rolling horribly). The cleric started to try and climb up again, right as a trio of spitting gargolyes flew in through a tunnel, then four more, then three more, then four more, then two more, and finally the last two. The Ranger was shooting them down, but not near fast enough and the Magus (4 hp of 120+) was tanking with her arcane pool and slashing them to bits, while throwing the occasional fireball. The sorcerer got horribly wounded and did a dive off the cliff with featherfall to save himself (11 hp). Pushed to the edge of the cliff by round 5 the ranger went down in a mess of slashing claws and acid, while the magus hung on at just a few points. The sorcerer managed to cast fly and get a pick me up from the climbing cleric and he flew in throwing lightning bolts trying to weaken the impressive numbers of gargoyles. On round 6, the magus was just barely holding on facing down three margoyles, when she cut two down. The others who took down the ranger caught another lightning bolt to and died, and the cleric finally after 6 rounds managed to finish his climb, rushed over and cast breath of life on the ranger, while getting beat on by the remaining gargoyles. They mopped up pretty easily after that. No true fatalities, but they had to use up most of their cure wands, they managed to find a bit of treasure, and took a breather from the deadly gargoyle attack.

The big cave, the prisoner, and the tunnel
After healing up, the party cautiously moved into the wet tunnel, but not before saving a single gargoyle for questioning. It was suitable cowed with the corpses of 16 others around it with a few intimidates as well. It wanted to trade, make peace, and have them talk to the leader for "magic". Not trusting it, but not wanting to kill it, the party let it lead them, tied up through the wet cavern. When they asked it about the moans on the pillar it said "squirmy food thing" and "not for trade". After a few minutes the ranger climbed up there and saw it was a tortured elf, she gave him a potion, but knocked him out when he started flipping out and begging to be rescued. She saw a small tunnel in the ceiling, but they decided to go move the boulder and talk to "leader" first. Prying the boulder out of the way they found the waterfall, met with some indecision and leading their prisoner, the sorcerer jumped down (featherfall) after a light stone showed it to only be 100' with water at the bottom. Everyone climbed down, followed the tunnel, and slowly reacted to the creepy green zombie. The ranger (knowledge nature) figured out it was a plant and spotted slime on the ceiling (over 30+ perception) and the party fought a tactical retreat not wanting to enter the slimy water. They took it down easily enough and returned to the wet cavern. The cleric of Asmodeus mentioned doing away with the gargoyle and sensing it was about to be murdered it tried to fight its way free, but he smashed it in the face with his hammer after it spit on him. Game closed as they decided how to proceed with the victim with broken legs, who would need to be carried out.

Note:
My players loved this enough that we are gaming again tonight. They dug out all of the magic items and I think they are going to take a trip back to the Camp, but they might not. They were ridiculously excited to finally find treasure. The cleric is Lawful Evil, but he seemed to be cohesive to the goals of the party, now we have two evil characters, but they are both treasure hunters. Suprisingly the sorcerer player gave the cleric the rundown on most of the major things they had found like the truth about Sanctuary, the Demon at the Crossroads, Simon the Vampire (lol), what they knew about the Usurer, and the bits system in town.


The 1/2 elf ranger must have a very impressive Perception at -60 (-1 for every 10' for the distance) to say nothing that it is rather dark that deep! No matter, sounds like a lot of fun! My players managed to kill the Margoyles first also and after resting in their cavern killed 7 of the 16 gargoyles before their leader sued for peace! The Inquisitor doing bane on them really did a number on them.

They are now on day two in the Boiling Lands battling Toxic Mudmen, and Ethereal Marauder and some Poisonbearer Ghouls. They completed the first level of the tower Friday and the players are doing a much better job at cooperating with each other although one does not play in this game.

Yesterday was my RA game (same players, different characters with one additional player). They are on level 8 and are really racking up the XP on this level. They found the Banshee and made a deal with her to kill King Goov to put her out of her misery. Goov is an advanced Mummy with a rod of Rulership. On round one he dominated the fighter who battled the party for the next two rounds until the fight was over. A fireball and 2 rounds of bombs from the Alchemist did him in quickly as he is vulnerable to fire. After checking back on the banshee they decided to swim south first taking the sw passage and all failed the DC 45 swim check! After nearly drowning and being swept almost off the map north they managed to get out of the water to fly down the SE passage and battled the goblin encampment of 45 scouts and 7 leaders. Between a wall of fire from the wizard and more bombs from the flying alchemist it was over in an hour of real time. So over the last two sessions they have earned around 20, 000 xp and are approaching level 10 now.


James B. Cline wrote:

The Gods: I finally found the Necromancer Games forums and one of the users had a Golarion Gods conversion listed as follows.

...
Nerull = Norgorber

I used that list, but traded out Norgorber for Zyphus, the God of Accidental Deaths. It's been a real hit with my local group.

Also, one of the giant deities (name escapes me at the moment) is a perfect replacement for the druid's deity. Read up on her in Gods & Magic or Pathfinderwiki.

Spoiler:
Her worship requires great sacrifices, and at times of great suffering, the sacrifice of a worshiper may be necessary to appease her.


@Geo Fix - Hey I forgot to say let me know how it goes with those personalities. I told my players that they were making a celebrity guest appearance in another DM's game, they were all curious about it.

@Brvheart - Yeah I had rolled 8 hours of optimal weather I think it's like a 30% chance on my chart and they saw them up close about noon. I kinda figured she'd plink at them until they moved around or attacked, but once they left the ledge the'd be alot easier for her to spot. I may have softballed that a bit, but the rest of the party was standing by ready to ranged them down. I gave them one pretty day I guess. RA is definitely on my to be run list. I wonder if I shouldn't have started with it just so my players could get an introduction to the plot. We have something to look forward to.

How did you get the players into the Boiling Lands?

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